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Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that holds up to 1000x its weight in water. It’s perhaps the most widely reported skincare ingredient since 2019, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Its benefits are simple – a hydrating molecule that retains moisture in the skin. It occurs naturally in our body, but overtime degrades, much like that of collagen and elastin, and therefore the need to replenish it topically is imperative to functioning skin.
However, something that is not widely reported is the fact that Hyaluronic Acid, when used topically, has specific requirements that will otherwise affect its absorption entirely. Any serum with Hyaluronic Acid in it needs to be applied with either damp, or sopping wet skin – particularly in dry climates. This is because HA actually uses the moisture from the environment to pull into the skin, and if the climate or skin is dry, there won’t be any moisture to carry through. Another tactic is to apply this serum in a steamy environment, to replicate the moisture levels found in humid climates, so the skin has an opportunity to convert the moisture.
If it’s not applied in this way, HA will use the moisture reserves in your skin, evaporating any hydration back out from the surface of the skin. Losing moisture from the skin is known as Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL), which is what HA wants to do, but needs the right conditions to succeed. To tie it all off, an occlusive product needs to trap the hydration that HA will deliver, in the form of an oil or moisturiser is best. This also stops any TEWL.
Another point to note, is that you don’t need to have just one Hyaluronic Acid serum and then a bunch of other targeted serums. Fortunately, due to its ever popular rise in skincare, HA can be found in most skincare products now. For those who live in very dry climates, and haven’t seen the results in their HA serum as they would’ve liked, there are so many other products that increase hydration while still ensuring this molecule is compounded among your botanical extracts, vitamin B5, and vitamin C. Now, you can almost find HA in products such as your hydrating toner, moisturiser, or even your cleanser (although it won’t provide the benefits like a leave-on product will).
Some of these include:
Sans Ceuticals Superdose Luminosity Masque – A bio-active face treatment designed to increase skin radiance and luminosity while resurfacing the skin to enable the delivery of vital nutrients. Smooths and brightens, while improving hydration, skin texture and the appearance of pores and fine lines. Includes HA among gentle acids, Vitamin C, and Manuka Honey.
Pestle & Mortar NMF – NMF is a gentle leave-on lactic acid solution that starts to work immediately- exfoliating the skin, lightening dark spots, hydrating and improving the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Formulated with Lactic Acid, a gentle acid for sensitive skin to promote hydration levels and supple skin.
HoliFrog Galilee Antioxidant Dewy Drop – This restoring and repairative hybrid is a serum that moonlights as a lotion or an emulsion. It’s a concentrated, minimal water formula combining hydration-attracting humectants with plant-based antioxidants and botanical oils to flood your pores and seal in moisture. HA features among Squalane and Glycerin for a supercharged moisture hit.
Josh Rosebrook Hydration Boost Concentrate – A botanical polysaccharide/hyaluronic acid and plant antioxidant complex. This unique, phytonutrient-dense, unscented, oil-free and essential oil-free formula works to significantly increase skin hydration to support vital skin function, plump, regenerate, and help slow decline of the skin. Formulated HA among other moisture-attracting humectants, and rich phytonutrient actives, to help improve circulation, skin texture, and help offset skin deterioration.
Odacite Deep Hydration Masque – A creamy, moisturising mask that deeply penetrates and absorbs into the skin. Organic olive and jojoba oil replaces any moisture and elasticity lost as a result of environmental damage. Potent antioxidants of natural vitamin E and organic tea extracts fight free radicals. HA is found in this deeply nourishing product, that is actually designed as a last step in skincare due to its rich plant oils.
So, if you feel like that single HA serum isn’t doing you any favours, replace it with a product that you feel your skin requires more-so. Find a targeted treatment that is unique to you – whether it’s balancing oil, coating surface level moisture loss, or replenishing hydration loss resulting in fine lines and tired skin – and have a scan of the ingredients list. If Hyaluronic Acid is included, you’ll reap all the benefits of the molecule with the added benefit of having a texture that’s right for your skin.